It’s mid-May and our region’s Farmer’s Markets are opening for business.
Even though the region is home to a number of fabulous year-round markets, most locations are seasonal. Do you enjoy eating fresh and local? Our farmers markets support many local farmers as well as provide a great place to sell local jams, breads. meats, eggs and so much more. These markets are an important part of the local economy. It’s also great to know exactly where the food you eat and serve your family comes from and how it was grown.
The first farmers markets technically originated in Egypt over 5,000 years ago when farmers along the Nile brought their fresh produce to be sold. Today there are farmers markets all over the world with the smallest ones being no more than 3-4 vendors selling their fresh produce to the largest one in the world in Tokyo, Japan which has over 1,700 stalls! Today, most communities support farmers markets. With obesity in both adults and children at an all time high, it only makes sense to put more emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables. Here are some top reasons why eating locally is better:
- Local food is fresher and tastes better than food that been trucked or flown in from thousands of miles away. Think you can’t taste the difference between lettuce picked yesterday and lettuce picked last week, factory-washed, and sealed in plastic? You can. Plus fresh local produce lasts longer.
- Those thousands of miles some food is shipped? That leads to a big carbon footprint for a little bunch of herbs. Look for farmers who follow organic and sustainable growing practices and energy use to minimize your food’s environmental impact.
- By buying foods grown and raised closer to where you live, you help maintain farmland and green space in your area.
- The fewer steps there are between your food’s source and your table the less chance there is of contamination. Also, when you know where your food comes from and who grows it, you know a lot more about that food.
- Money spent with local farmers stays close to home building the local economy.
- Knowing where your food is from connects you to the people who raise and grow it. Instead of having a single relationship–to a big supermarket–you develop smaller connections to more food sources: vendors at the farmers’ market, the local cheese shop, your favorite butcher, the co-op that sells local eggs, a local café that roasts coffee.
As my father always taught me, you are what you eat. High quality food that is freshly picked is loaded with so much nutritional value. Even though vitamins have their place, isn’t it better to get as many of our nutrients from the foods we eat?
Let’s all do our part to support our local farmers. It’s good for everyone!